Early in 2015, I spoke with the filmmaker and engineer Arthur Musah. He was trained in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, and film at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and has gone on to work on fiction and documentary shorts, including What to Bring to America, Refuge, and Color Blind. He is currently working on two feature-length documentaries focusing on Africa and Africans in a globalized, technological age.
What was special about this conversation is that it’s the first African Takeover interview. There’s something about asking someone to tell their story that often leads to fascinating places. Even if you know the person, you are almost guaranteed to be surprised. Part of the reason that I’ve been interested in listening to interviews, reading interviews, and now, conducting interviews, is that I always love that electric jolt of astonishment, and that point in the conversation when the person says something that makes you rethink some aspect of life.
Some things that struck me about this conversation:
- the way that knowledge gets passed down in an institution: the kids at Arthur’s secondary school have a system for getting into American universities
- as always, it’s fascinating how people start off in one place and end up somewhere completely different, yet appropriate
- the way that art affects us differently at different stages of our lives
- how diving deeply into one perspective or style of a thing (here, film) can make it easier to notice the characteristics of other styles
- learning how to play all the roles can be extremely valuable, even if you eventually delegate them to others
I’m excited to see Arthur’s films, and like him, I’m interested to see what interesting stories come out of the African experience.
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